OSCAR FORECAST: Best Director 2013

Best Director Predictions (as of 12-10-12):
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Ben Affleck, Argo
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

1134604 - Zero Dark Thirty

Now that significant critics groups have had their say, Zero Dark Thirty (closely followed by Lincoln) has emerged as the favorite in the Best Picture race. Argo has remained strong, picking up numerous commendations here and there. Mostly, Argo has hung around on the peripheries of the recent awards, leading me to believe that it will be one of those high nominee/zero wins movies. Unfortunate for Argo is that all of it’s marked strengths are shared or bettered by other movies. Nonetheless, Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln, and Argo are still the horses at the front of the pack and, as such, all three movies’ directors are locked-in to be nominated as well.

Just outside this group is Silver Linings Playbook. Yet, the perceived originality of the script and the kinetic directing style has put David O. Russell firmly in the driver’s seat for the fourth spot. While I think Russell is still somewhat shaky, gun to my head right now, I’d say he’s a very safe bet.

That leaves only one spot for some acclaimed directors to vie for. Yesterday’s LA Film Critics wins for Amour and Paul Thomas Anderson excited throngs of Oscar pundits who see these films the kinds of exciting visionary outputs that always come close enough to Oscar to dream about. In truth, the past decade or so has brought some outside-the-box thinking with directors like David Lynch and Pedro Almodovar sneaking in. However, the new ten picture format leads me to believe that it would take a shocking situation for a Best Picture and Best Director not to match up. Do The Master and Amour have the accessibility to get into the Best Picture race? I honestly don’t think so. Both are too confrontational, too obtuse, and too challenging. Having the LAFCA vote will get some Academy members to pay more attention, but I don’t believe Hollywood is as gaga about these two pictures as critics want us to believe.

More realistically, Beasts of the Southern Wild has a legitimate shot at Best Picture. The Oscars love a good story and Benh Zeitlin’s youthful presence (and his equally fresh film) might be just that. Also, like The Master is in every filmmaking circle I’ve talked to, Beasts will likely be seen as a directorial achievement even more so than a great film as a whole. To my mind, only one of these esoteric choices can get in. Right now, my money’s on Beasts of the Southern Wild.

The safe money may still be on either Ang Lee for Life of Pi or Tom Hooper for Les Miz. Buzz for both films seems to be tepid at this point and early reviews for Les Miz are far from ecstatic. Lee’s film might fit nicely into the “visionary-but-not-too-visionary” slot, if the Oscar cards fall that evenly.  It’s hard to believe that The Tree of Life would have gotten in last year if only five films were honored. Yet, I have to assume that Terrance Malick would have gotten in no matter what. Similarly, if Beasts or Life of Pi get into the Best Picture race, look for their directors to show up also.

On the outside, Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained and Wes Anderson for Moonrise Kingdom still have distant chances of getting nominated. Both, to me, would be surprises. However, each do have reputations as American auteurs, so without the DGA vote as a crutch, voters might go for these filmmakers because they think they are supposed to.

Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Ben Affleck, Argo

Safe Choice:
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

Anybody’s Guess:
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master
Michael Haneke, Amour
Tom Hooper, Les Misérables
Ang Lee, Life of Pi

Other Possibilities:
Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
Wes Anderson, Moonrise Kingdom

This entry was posted in Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin, Films, Foreign Films, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Movies, News, Oscar Talk and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to OSCAR FORECAST: Best Director 2013

  1. I have a feeling Hooper will be nominated just because he’s still riding on the academy’s choice of King’s Speech.
    I’m also calling an Affleck win for this year.

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